Quitting happens. Some of us handle it well. Some of us don't. Some of us don't believe quitting well exists. But I'm here to tell you there is a process to quitting well. Because like it or not, paid position or volunteer, eventually we will quit some type of leadership role (and yes, retiring is a kind word for quitting).
Quitting is not always a negative word. There are times "moving on" is the right thing to do, especially if you're empowering others who need the chance to lead. So how do we quit the right way when we realize a season is over?
Here are four "dont's" to keep in mind when quitting time is coming up.
1. Don't drop bombs - Some people enjoy the power of quitting. It reminds me of warfare, one side surprisingly drops bombs on the other to catch it off guard and then fly a way, it's a method of control in a power struggle. If damaging relationships is the way you want to go about quitting than this is your method. But what you should do is bring other leaders into the loop when you begin to process the end of a season. Conversations in advance allows everyone to prepare for change, which in the long term will help the team.
2. Don't check out early - If you've given notice than finish well. Some people will choose what they want to do and what they don't want to do as they head for the door. But finishing well means doing the exact same things you did the first month. And this is a good way to evaluate if you are finishing well. Ask yourself, "Have I stopped doing anything I did the first month when I took the job or started volunteering?" If the answer is "yes", it's a pretty good indicator you're checking out early and cheating a commitment.
3. Don't leave sloppy - I wish I could remember who said it but the saying goes, "How you leave says more about your leadership than anything else you do." If you're moving on you are about to inherit something someone else left. Prepare to leave like you were handing things off to yourself. You should think about leaving with a comprehensive list of who, what, and when. Once you have met your commitment and you have organized things well, leave.
4. Don't hang out - If you want in, then stay in. If you want out, then get out. It's never fair to to say we are leaving but hang out. This makes communication cloudy because team members will often communicate to the same people as before. If people reported to you they are likely to return to you when they should be working through transition-pains with the new person. Please don't make things hazy for others.
Quitting requires a great deal of leadership because we want to do it well. The process of leaving is how everyone will remember you regardless of the great things you may have done in you tenure. Leave well. And serve those who will remain on the team so organizational or team health is at it's best. Do that and you will be missed. Don't do that and everyone will want you out the door sooner.
Is there anything else you would add to this list? Maybe you've been on a team and watched someone quit poorly, what did you learn from that experience? Please leave your comments below!